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Efficiency drive to counter power price surge

August 18, 2004

Efficiency drive to counter power price surge

The North Shore City Council is turning up its energy efficiency programme to counter a 25 per cent surge in the price of electricity.

Through a formal tendering process, the council recently invited electricity retailers to compete for the council's business.

Current power supplier Genesis Energy offered the best deal - $11m for three years. Three other companies put in tenders.

The council's strategy and finance committee yesterday accepted the Genesis bid which provides a secure supply at a fixed price until June 2007.

Committee chairperson Tony Holman says while the council has little influence on the rate it pays the retailer for energy, he points to the various initiatives under way to save power.

"We've invested in a co-generation facility at our Glenfield Leisure Centre and we use the methane produced as part of the treatment process to help generate power at our Rosedale wastewater treatment plant.

"We have a team monitoring energy use and implementing power-saving programmes throughout the organisation," Councillor Holman says.

Under the new contract, the council will pay $10.95m over the three-year term, an average of $3.65m a year. This is a total increase of $735,000, or 25 per cent more than its current power bill.

The council commissioned energy consultants, Electricity Link, to analyse the tender prices. The independent experts reported that the Genesis bid represented the best combination of price, terms and conditions.

North Shore City Council uses electricity at 350 separate locations and it is wastewater which uses the most - 42 per cent - to power the city's treatment plant and 86 pumping stations. The council's $1.5m investment in a gas cogeneration set at the Rosedale wastewater treatment plant back in late 1999 generates 600 kW, or half of the treatment plant's daily power needs.

Street and traffic lighting accounts for 34 per cent of the city's power bill.

Tony Holman says the de-regulated electricity sector has failed to boost competition and lower prices.

"The co-called electricity reforms were expected to bring benefits but we have yet to see evidence that we will receive any," he says.

ENDS

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